Nets Star Gets Candid About NBA Future

Joe Harris, Nic Claxton

Getty Joe Harris and Nic Claxton celebrate during a matchup with the New York Knicks.

Brooklyn Nets fans remained hopeful that sharpshooter Joe Harris could eventually return to his usual form, but that has not been the case. Even Harris acknowledges that he has suffered a drop off since returning from injury this season and knows that for him to be a contributing player to this Nets squad, he will need to “evolve” as a player.

“I just am not the same player that I was two, three years ago,” Harris said to Andrew Crane of the New York Post. “It’s not to say that I’m less of a player, but I just have to kind of evolve and figure it out.”

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Joe Harris Gets Honest on NBA Future

Two seasons ago Harris was the most accurate shooter in the NBA, leading the league in three-point percentage at a scorching 47.5%. But an ankle injury that he suffered at the start of the 2021-22 season caused him to need two surgeries in the same league year, and as a result, he has regressed significantly over the last two seasons.

In terms of accuracy, Harris is still a dead-eye shooter. This season he is one of a handful of players shooting 40% or better from beyond the arc at 41.8%, which is 15th in the NBA. But where Harris has really seen a dip is in his scoring. In his last complete season in 2020-21, he averaged 14.1 points per game in 69 games. Fast forward to this season, and that average has nearly been cut in half at 8.1 points per game in 55 games.

With Harris’ dwindling play, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn had no choice but to pull him from the starting lineup. And while he is not giving up on himself, Harris knows in the latter days of his NBA career, returning after an injury is more difficult.

“When you’re younger, you’re able to bounce back from different stuff a lot easier. Now for me, I know I’m not as old as some guys in the league, but if something happens to me in the game where maybe I tweak my back or something happens to one of my knees, to me it feels like it takes a little bit longer in that recovery process,” Harris said to the New York Post.

“You get used to playing a certain way for sure, but Mother Time is undefeated. And it’s like I’m not getting any younger. I’m not getting more athletic, more nimble. I obviously have certain skillsets that allow me to play, but there’s a lot of other factors that go into it.”

Joe Harris Could Draw Inspiration From Klay Thompson

One place Harris could draw inspiration from on his road to recovery is from a fellow sharpshooter, Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson. Thompson had about as catastrophic a two years as any player could imagine. After recovering from a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, he ruptured his Achilles in an offseason pickup game, missing 941 games before returning last January.

Despite the Warriors winning the title last season, it was a struggle for Thompson in his return as he shot under 40% from three for the first time in his career. But this season, he has looked more like his old self as he has hit twelve threes in two separate games and is back over the 40% mark. The Warriors star partially credits his resurgence to the advice of his head coach Steve Kerr who shared with him how Michael Jordan had to evolve his game when he got to the latter years of his career.

“Steve [Kerr] was just telling me how my game needs to evolve as I get older,” Thompson told reporters on February 24 via NBC Sports.

“He used Michael Jordan as an example of how when he got into his mid-30s, he came such an incredible low post player. Not saying I’m Mike or anything, I’m just saying I can evolve in other areas.”

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